As if Europe hasn't enough problems ... but it's a beast of small brain. Yes, after a couple of years of deliberation it's decided to proceed against Gazprom for abuse of its dominant position in the European gas market. Oh, and for good measure Mikhail Fridman has been given the yo-heave-ho from his UKCS assets.
The Gazprom thing is laughable. No deliberation was required, their actions were (of course!) fully known to the EU competition authorities yonks ago: and the impact of their real but transparent misdeeds has been diminishing steadily since 2009 and the Great European Gas Demand Collapse we have covered here since it started. A large part of their west-bound gas availability is now 'on the margin', meaning that if they want to shift it they must (to their utter disgust) chase the spot price downwards. The world is already awash with gas, even before the Japanese re-start their nukes, and there is a huge further increment of LNG on its way over the next couple of years. China will not remotely be able to mop it all up in the short or even medium term.
In other words the EC has decided to kick the man when he is not just down, but badly wounded. Political ? Yes, I think we may safely say that.
So we are back to the childish Putin-baiting strategy we have criticized here often. Given that Mariupol has not been stormed - as clearly it could have been, any time - it is surely the case that little Volodya has signalled he's had enough for now. The Gazprom prosecution suit has been, and would remain, available on the shelf at any time. Has something bad just gone down in unpublicised negotiations?
Or has ISIL been so comprehesively suppressed by the Iranians that Europe no longer thinks it needs to keep its powder dry? (One notes that recently the brave warriors of ISIL have been more or less restricted to beating up works of art, which may betoken exactly that.)
As observed before, there are no end of opportunities for Putin to retaliate in the cheap and childish game of 'stirring up the hornets'. The ghastly situation in Libya is obviously yet another. How horribly stupid is EU foreign policy.